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Sophia's Birth Story

I wasn't very active in this community because I found it right before I went into labor at 38 weeks. But I figured I would share the birth story of my daughter, Sophia, who was born August 26, 2011 and was 6lbs. 5oz. and 18 inches long just in case someone might like to read it.

I had gone to my regularly scheduled OB appointment that Thursday morning, August 25. After a quick exam the doctor informed me that I had gone from .5cm the week prior to 2-3cm and was 80% effaced. She said that these were good signs, but that I still might have some time before real labor began. I went home and made the necessary phone calls to Shawn and his parents to let them know how things were changing & progressing. To say the words out loud that I was so dilated made the whole thing real, but a part of me was still in denial. Sure I was dilating, but without contractions I figured I would have more time.

Around noon or so I went over to my friend's house. We sat around and talked for a while then decided to head down to the beach for sushi. After a great lunch we walked a few blacks meandering through the shops, just talking and enjoying the day. Several people asked how far along I was and I kept joking that I could go any day.  I honestly thought I had at least another day or two before she would arrive. After a while I grew tired and had a few strong Braxton-Hicks so we headed back to the car.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful. I hung out at my friend's for a while just talking, and joking that I would deliver on their new couches. Then I headed home where I watched some Netflix to help pass the time because I knew my husband was working late. About 6pm I had dinner, a big bowl of spaghetti and some garlic bread.

Around 7pm I saw my husband pull in the driveway. I got up from the couch to pour myself another glass of water. As I refilled our Brita pitcher I suddenly felt like I was peeing on myself, but I knew I wasn't. I went to our guest bathroom to sit down on the toilet. As I was staring in disbelief at my amniotic fluid I heard Shawn come in. He puttered around the house for a minute, probably putting his stuff down, before knocking on the bathroom door to ask if I was okay. "I think my water broke" I replied. He opened the door and we both stared in disbelief. I quickly realized that I had a problem though. My amniotic fluid was not clear, but rather had a brown-greenish tint, the sign that it had meconium in it.

My husband called our doctor's office for me. Since it was after hours we left a message with the answering service for doctor on call. We missed the first call back from the midwife and had to call back again. This time they patched us right through. She instructed me to come down to the hospital as soon as possible.

My husband, Shawn, grabbed a quick bite to eat while I called his parents. Given the earlier phone call, his mommy jokingly answered the phone, "now you're just messing with me." I chuckled and said no, my water had broken. I told them not to rush or panic but that we were heading to the hospital. I think we were all in shock. My husband and I collected a few more things for our hospital bag all while trying not to panic. We loaded up the car and by 8:30pm we were checking in to the Labor & Delivery Ward.

At this time I still had no contractions. The midwife gave me two options, walk the hallways for a while and hope contractions started or get hooked up Pitocin to begin induction. Given my natural birthing plan I chose the first. After a while they started, little ones at first where I could still walk and talk, but then they began to get more intense. My rounds became shorter and my sensitivity to light and sound became heightened. After a while I retreated back into my room. At 10pm or so the midwife checked me, I had progressed to a solid 3cm. She told me to keep up the good work and that she would be back in a little bit to see me again.

I had the lights down low and as my contractions got stronger I couldn't handle listening to people talk. We had brought an ocean sounds cd to play, but sadly discovered it was scratched and would not play. Thank god for smart phones, my mother in law found a rain forest sounds app on her phone to play in the background. I shut my eyes and tried to focus on what my body needed from me. I rocked and swayed with Shawn for a while, but found that I just really wanted to sit down. They pulled a recliner over for me and placed a chair for Shawn next to me. Things were beginning to get really intense.

At 2am the midwife came in to check me again. It was working, I was at 5cm.

The moments blurred together. The contractions were even stronger and right on top of one another. Shawn's mom would later tell me that they were 45 seconds long with a 45 second break in between. Eventually my will power began to crack. The pain was getting too intense. When the midwife came in again a little while later to see me, I broke down and asked for the epidural. Everyone complied with my request and the nurse came in to hook me up to the necessary fluids. I could hear Shawn telling me that he would support me, but the way he said it I knew I would regret it in the morning. I moved to the edge of the bed and suddenly found my groove. When the nurse came back a short while later I told her I wouldn't be needing it after all (not in so many words, I probably just grunted and shook my head no).

Sitting on the edge of my hospital bed I found "my place." I leaned to my left, onto Shawn, when my contractions were waning and to me right as they peaked. Shawn sat there holding my hand being everything I needed him to be. His mom sat behind me rubbing my back. Together they whispered words of encouragement letting me know I could do it.

Time seemed to stop. This process of rocking back and forth seemed to last forever. Just looping over and over. And then suddenly, something changed. With each contractions I got large gushes of fluid. My body was telling me that something was different. I felt the urge to get up and go to the bathroom. Half way there I doubled over from a contraction.

I sat down on the toilet and instantly felt the urge to push. I put my hand down and all I could feel was the bulging of her head. I called for Shawn and told him to tell the nurse I had the urge to push. It took everything I had not to. There was no way I was going to deliver my baby on a toilet. Shawn got me up and helped me back to my bed.

The nurse examined me. As she felt around, she looked up at me beaming and asked if I was ready to meet my daughter.

With Shawn holding my left leg and my nurse holding my right, the midwife came in and instructed me to push whenever I felt the urge. They positioned a mirror at the end of the bed so I could watch her crown.

There are no words to describe the process of pushing. With each contraction I would take a deep breath, put my head down, close my eyes and just push. I would get to a thresh hold and stop. Each time I would look up and see her getting closer to crowning. Everyone around me was cheering me on, encouraging me to keep going. I was determined. She was so close. I reached down at one point, at the urging of the midwife and felt her head. I remember saying, it's squishy.

I finally reached a point where there was no turning back. I said to myself, this is it. As I felt the next contraction coming on, I closed my eyes took the deepest breath and bared down. I let out a primal scream and just gave it my all. She burst forth from me. Shawn's mom later told me they were telling me to stop after the first half of the push so that they could suction her nose to make sure it was clear of meconium, but I never heard them. They also told me later that the cord was wrapped around her three times, around her neck, arm, and leg.

After she emerged, they place her on my lower abdomen so I could see her for a few moments. Then they took her over to the table to suction her out more and get her crying to help clear her lungs. Shawn ceremoniously cut the cord. She was then weighed and measured before being placed on my chest once again. I really wanted to start breastfeeding right then, but they recommended I wait just a few minutes to make sure everything was cleared out of her lungs.

Seeing Sophia for the first time was the most magical moment of my life. And every day since has been an absolute miracle.

And so this long post won't be all talk here are some pictures :)